Opinion | What’s one piece of advice for incoming students?


Sidney Malone

Abel Kartawinata, sophomore in LAS, talks about advice that she would give to upcoming freshman. Kartawinata brings up being involved and trying new things around campus.

By Liv Barwinska and Maggie Knutte

The time has finally come. After four years of trying to get the perfect GPA, volunteering after school and joining that drama club — that you didn’t necessarily want to join — you start to question everything. Did I pick the right school? Did I pick the right major? Sleepless nights filled with tears, sweaty hands and rapid heartbeats — we’ve all gone through it.

The decision of where you’re gonna spend the next four years of your life is important. Applying to college is often the most stressful thing a high schooler goes through. To ease off your stress, we asked students at the University, “What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming students?”

Tatiana Tomic, freshman in AHS

“Try to get as involved in the culture of the school. Try to get to know your school.”

Tomic added it’s also a good idea to visit the classrooms your classes are going to be in before school starts.

Chloe Zwolfer, senior in Engineering

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Zwolfer was chatting with her friend as we approached her. “I would just say put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to make friends in class or out.”

Matt Krueger, junior in Business

“Keep an open mind, get to know people and get involved.”

Nikhil Gorur, freshman in Engineering

“It’s kinda cheesy, but just be yourself in college. Just do whatever you wanna do and don’t give a f—  about what anyone else wants. It’s your time to grow and explore.”

Abel Kartawinata, sophomore in LAS

“Just get more involved in everything that the college has to offer. I’m also a transfer student, so I know what it’s like to be in a completely new environment with nobody that you know. I feel like getting involved in the activities is a good way to meet new people and be a part of the college experience.”

It’s especially hard being a transfer student, but putting yourself out there will get you the best college experience possible. Saying yes to things, even if you’re scared of them, is a good way of making lifetime friends.

Flannery McCorkle, freshman in ACES

“Map out your classes before they start because it’s just so much easier knowing where you’re going. It’s less stressful.”

JD Devine, sophomore in Engineering

“Get involved in Registered Student Organizations on campus.”

Many students highlighted the best way to meet new people is to get involved in organizations that strike your interest. You’ve always wanted to try writing and brainstorming with others? Creative Writing Club may be just the right thing for you, for instance.

Nathan Vogt, freshman in LAS

“Make sure you stay on top of your work and have a healthy balance between your social and school life.”

Steven Chang, freshman in Engineering 

“Take advantage of all the opportunities. Be willing to go out and meet new people.”

Alec Gilmore, freshman in Engineering

“As a freshman, I’d say the number one thing has been trying everything if you’re remotely interested. Just put yourself out there.”

No matter what decision you make, remember to cherish the next couple of years and make as many memories as possible. The stress and tears will all be worth it once you become best friends with that mean squirrel on the Main Quad. Welcome to your home, far away from home.


Liv is a freshman in LAS.

[email protected]

Maggie is a freshman in LAS.

[email protected]